Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) has closed an illegal radio named ‘Chisomo Radio Station’ which was being operated by Jefferson Saguga in Salima district.

The closure has been carried out with the help of the Police who escorted MACRA officials on the 11 November 2015, to execute a warrant of access and search which was obtained from the Lilongwe Magistrate Court.

Confirming the development on Monday, MACRA Communications Officer Clara Mulonya said the illegal broadcaster has since appeared before the First Grade Magistrate Court in Salima.

“Saguga pleaded guilty to the charges and he was later convicted. Owing to the fact that he was a first offender and that he did not waste Courts time by pleading guilty, the court exercised leniency by sentencing him to 6 months imprisonment with hard labour.

“But the jail term was suspended to 3 months and was warned not to operate the radio station again up until he fulfills all the regulatory obligations,” said Mulonya adding Saguga started broadcasting more than a month ago and defied MACRA’s warning against his illegal operations.

Mulonya said Saguga was charged him with two offences under the Communications Act 1998 in particular section 98 1(a) and (3) which state that “any person who operates a radio station, except-(a) a radio exempted under subsection (2) of section 35, or (b) a radio station controlled by the Authority pursuant to section 43, without a licence issued or deemed to have been issued under Part IV shall be guilty of an offence.

The section(3) further says any person who operates apparatus or equipment of any description as to cause harmful interference with radio communications shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of K20, 000 and to imprisonment for two years.

In October 2009, Gabriel Kondesi of Mulanje was also arrested for operating illegal radio station in areas surrounding border area of Limbuli.

Again in January 2010 after four months, Police in the Kasungu district arrested two men on suspicion that they were operating a radio station without a licence from MACRA.mana

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